Career Information for a Degree in Specialized Sales

Sales and marketing is generally offered as an undergraduate program that prepares individuals to work as specialized sales professionals in a variety of industries. Continue reading for an overview of sales and marketing programs and career options.

A degree in sales and marketing can prepare individuals interested in a career in specialized sales. Some professionals who focus on specialized sales include real estate sales agents, pharmaceutical sales representatives, and advertising sales agents. It's possible to enter real estate sales and advertising sales without a degree, but a degree relevant to specialized sales may increase job opportunities for those seeking employment in these career fields.

Essential Information

Many colleges and universities offer undergraduate degrees in sales and marketing. These degree programs typically include basic instruction in business, marketing, and economics, as well as more specialized instruction in the skills needed for specific industries. Students in sales and marketing degree programs may take courses in subjects such as promotions, Internet commerce, consumer behavior, and accounting. Though a degree is typically not required for most sales positions, it may improve an individual's chances for obtaining a job in the field.

Career Real Estate Sales Agents Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives Advertising Sales Agents
Education Requirements High school diploma and real estate courses for license Bachelor's degree High school diploma
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% 7% for sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific -3%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $43,370 $76,190 annually for sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific $48,490 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Sales and marketing degree programs may prepare individuals to work as specialized sales professionals in numerous industries. Although a degree may not necessarily be required, individuals may obtain sales skills in specific industries through a degree program or job training. Keep reading for detailed descriptions of three possible career options in sales and marketing: real estate sales, pharmaceutical sales, and advertising sales.

Real Estate Sales

Real estate sales agents use sales skills combined with their knowledge of local communities, real estate markets, and financing to assist buyers in making decisions regarding the purchase of homes, commercial sites, and other property. Real estate sales agents must pass a licensing exam from each state in which they want to operate. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment for real estate sales agents would grow by 3% between 2014 and 2024. Although commissions vary widely and can contribute to the bulk of an agent's income, the median annual salary for real estate sales agents was $43,370 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Pharmaceutical Sales

Pharmaceutical sales representatives are responsible for meeting with physicians, pharmacists, and other related professionals to describe and sell the products manufactured by their companies. They may also assist in product development by conveying feedback between clients and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Pharmaceutical sales representatives may perform administrative and sales duties from an office, or they may be required to travel to various locations. The BLS classifies pharmaceutical sales representatives in the category sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific. For this category, the BLS estimated that job openings would grow by 7% between 2014 and 2024, and the median annual salary for this group was reported as $76,190 in 2015.

Advertising Sales

Advertising sales agents are typically responsible for selling advertising space in a wide variety of media, such as print, television, radio, and Internet programs. They may work for a media outlet, actively contacting potential advertisers, or handling inquiries from interested businesses or companies. Some advertising sales agents work for media representative firms, operating as middlemen between clients, advertising firms, and media outlets. The BLS reported the employment outlook for advertising sales agents as -3% between 2014 and 2024, which indicates little to no change in employment during that time period. According to the BLS, advertising sales agents earned a median of $48,490 in 2015, although commissions vary widely and can form the bulk of an agent's income.

Sales and marketing studies can lead to a degree that will help those seeking employment in specialized sales after graduation. Advertising sales, real estate sales and pharmaceutical sales are all sales fields where employees benefit from completing a degree. These professionals must not only know basic business and marketing principles, but may also be required to be licensed or educated about the specific products they are selling.

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